SA Team set to defend titles at ISA World Masters Surfing Championships in Panama
The South African Masters surfing team is set to defend four World titles at the ISA World Masters Surfing Championships which get underway with the Parade of Nations and Sands of the World ceremonies on the Pacific coast of Panama later today (Saturday).
After a 40-hour journey that saw the team fly to Sao Paulo, Panama City and Santiago before embarking on a 5-hour overland trip to the contest venue of Santa Catalina, the South Africans have enjoyed excellent surf in the 2-2.5 metre range for the past two days.
“We’ve settled in well at Santa Catalina, a very rustic village on the edge of the jungle with incredible rainfall – there was 200mm overnight,” said team captain Marc Wright, who will be defending the Kahunas (over 45 year-old) title he won at the last ISA Masters event in Peru in 2008.
“The spirit in the team is fantastic and it’s such an honour to be appointed captain given the amount of experience the other guys have. We’ll be going all out to bring home the gold,” the Durbanite added.
Andrew Banks (Port Shepstone), a semi-finalist and member of title winning 2008 SA team, concurred by saying, “Santa Catalina is an awesome place to compete and the wave is pretty tricky – big, powerful and perfect. We traveled for 40 hours to make it here and we intend to take the trophy home for the third consecutive year.”
The event features a veritable United Nations of surfing with more than 120 surfers, all 35-and-older, from 21 countries competing in the Masters (o/35), Grand Masters (o/40), Kahunas (o/40), Grand Kahunas (O/50) and Women’s Masters (o/35) divisions.
Team SA holds the proud tradition of having won the team gold medal at both the previous editions of the event – in Puerto Rico (2007) and Peru (2008). Along with Wright in the Kahunas, Chris Knutsen (Durban) will be defending the Grand Kahunas title (he was also crowned Kahunas champion in Puerto Rico) and Heather Clark (Port Shepstone) is the defending Women’s Masters champ.
The rest of the South African team is made up of Masters Wayne Monk (East London), Grand Masters Andre Malherbe (EL) and Robert Moore-Boyle (Durban) and David Malherbe (Coffee Bay), a two-time finalist in the Grand Masters division who has moved up to the Kahunas this year.
The team is coached for the third time by 1977 ISA World Champion Ant Brodowicz (Margate) and the manager is Dave Fish from East London.
On Saturday the international teams will march through the streets of Sona, 45 minutes from Santa Catalina, in the Parade of Nations before attending the Sands of the World and Opening ceremonies.
The first heats in the ISA World Masters Surfing Championships get underway at Santa Catalina on Sunday morning with Round 1 of both the Masters and Grand Masters scheduled for completion.
The event uses a double-elimination format that sees the top two in each four-man heat progress in the ‘qualifiers’ stream while those finishing outside the top two drop into the cutthroat ‘repecharge’ rounds where anything other than a top two placing means elimination from the event.
All the action from the event, including live webcasts, daily videos, photos and contest news in both English and Spanish can be found at www.panamaisaworldmasters.com. The event is scheduled to start at 6.30am local time daily. (1.30pm SA time).
Event updates are also available through the ISA Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.
The SA Masters Team preparations and attendance at the 2010 ISA World Masters Championships is made possible thanks to a R150 000 grant from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF).
Daily high quality pictures and TV resolution video highlights for editorial use, rights free, will be made available here:
About the International Surfing Association (ISA)
The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. It was originally founded as the International Surfing Federation in 1964 and has been running world championships since 1964 and the Junior World Championships since 1980.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of over 60 countries on six continents. Its headquarters are located in San Diego, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre, first elected in 1994 in Rio, and re-elected six times since. The ISA’s four Vice Presidents are Alan Atkins (Australia), Robin de Kock (South Africa), Mike Gerard (USA) and Karín Sierralta (Peru).
Issued on behalf of:
Surfing South Africa
Contact: Robin de Kock, General Manager
Cell: 082 454 1149
Compiled & Distributed by:
Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Fax: +27 (0) 86 684 6250
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964